Portland State College. Department of History
Term of Graduation
Date of Publication
Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) [in History]
Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970), France -- Foreign relations -- Germany (West), Germany (West) -- Foreign relations -- France
1 online resource (55 pages)
The dismemberment and reparations policy France followed at the end of World War II as an occupying power in Germany was a traditional approach of the victor to the vanquished. The Saar, the Ruhr, and the Rhineland were the borderlands long in dispute. One new element was the idea that while demanding these territories, an attempt at national rapprochement could be carried on through educational measures. For many Germans the University at Mainz did not balance the dismantled factories.
This postwar period was characterized by European economic ills. The 1947 Marshall Plan, an American approach to restore Europe to economic health through cooperative effort, was inaugurated. It stimulated the European integration movement which flourished during the 1950’s. The 1948 Council of Europe had not lived up to expectations, in the eyes of European federalists, but the next try, the European Coal and Steel Community, (1952) proved a lusty child of the functionalist movement. When the European Defense Community died, (1954) it embittered Franco-German relations for a while. The European Atomic Energy Community and the European Economic Community completed the European Community in 1958. Through the organizations for economic integration, France and Germany have, in spite of disputes and crises, been able to compromise many divergent drives in the interest of restoring Europe to full economic capacity. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, (1949) which originated as a joint military defense and symbolized Western unity in the face of Soviet aggression, became a seedbed of discord between France and German.
When General de Gaulle became president in 1958, he pursued an active policy of rapprochement with Adenauer’s Federal German Republic seeking to establish a Paris-Bonn axis on which to base French leadership in the European Community. As leader of a West European bloc independent of the United States, France would hold that place in the first rank of nations that de Gaulle believed she must have. Chancellor Adenauer cooperated with the French president because he believed a tightly knit European group would benefit German interests. The high point in Franco-German rapprochement occurred in 1962 during the summer exchange of state visits, but by the time the Treaty was signed and ratified, (1963) the tone of Franco-German relations and changed.
Disagreements on military policies in NATO, on political developments in the European Community, and on agricultural policies in EEC, all reached serious proportions at the time that Chancellor Erhard took office in 1963. The Erhard government’s shift of emphasis from a Europe focused on France to the Atlantic alliance focused on the United States led President de Gaulle to consider a new policy to replace Franco-German rapprochement which had been his primary strategy until 1963. Franco-Russian relations became noticeably warmer after the extension of long term credits by France to the Soviet Union. Germany protested this new turn in French policy. A closer French-Russian relationship may add to the discord which cooled the Franco-German accord of 1962.
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Shumway, Mary Ann, "De Gaulle and Franco-German relations, 1945-1965" (1966). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 462.